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ACLU Lens: Senate Takes Up New Detention Authorities Again Tonight We Need Your Help!

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:00 AM
Original message

ACLU Lens: Senate Takes Up New Detention Authorities Again Tonight We Need Your Help!

The Senates back in session today, ready to begin once again on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Perfectly timed for the Senates return, the San Jose Mercury News ran an incredibly compelling op-ed today by Floyd Mori, the head of the Japanese American Citizens League on the bills detention provisions.

As Mori eloquently states:

Although the details of the indefinite detentions of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the proposed indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects may differ, the principle remains the same: Indefinite detentions based on fear-driven and unlawfully substantiated national security grounds, where individuals are neither duly charged nor fairly tried, violate the essence of U.S. law and the most fundamental values upon which this country was built.

These provisions have proven to be a huge sticking point, with the White House firmly against their passage. The Obama administration has issued a veto threat for the bill based on its opposition to the provisions and, last week, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, wrote to Sen. Dianne Feinstein outlining his concerns.

The Senate will be debating the NDAA this week and will begin voting on amendments as early as tonight. One amendment well be watching for this week was offered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). The Udall amendment would strip the detention provisions and mandates a process for Congress to use an orderly process to consider whether any detention legislation is needed. Its not too late to call your senator and urge them to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.


STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY: S. 1867 National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 (PDF)

<...>

Detainee Matters: The Administration objects to and has serious legal and policy concerns about many of the detainee provisions in the bill. In their current form, some of these provisions disrupt the Executive branch's ability to enforce the law and impose unwise and unwarranted restrictions on the U.S. Government's ability to aggressively combat international terrorism; other provisions inject legal uncertainty and ambiguity that may only complicate the military's operations and detention practices.

Section 1031 attempts to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) (the AUMF). The authorities granted by the AUMF, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people from the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and its associated forces, and have enabled us to confront the full range of threats this country faces from those organizations and individuals. Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk. After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country. While the current language minimizes many of those risks, future legislative action must ensure that the codification in statute of express military detention authority does not carry unintended consequences that could compromise our ability to protect the American people.

The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects. This unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial restriction of the President's authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals. Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets. We have spent ten years since September 11, 2001, breaking down the walls between intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals; Congress should not now rebuild those walls and unnecessarily make the job of preventing terrorist attacks more difficult. Specifically, the provision would limit the flexibility of our national security professionals to choose, based on the evidence and the facts and circumstances of each case, which tool for incapacitating dangerous terrorists best serves our national security interests. The waiver provision fails to address these concerns, particularly in time-sensitive operations in which law enforcement personnel have traditionally played the leading role. These problems are all the more acute because the section defines the category of individuals who would be subject to mandatory military custody by substituting new and untested legislative criteria for the criteria the Executive and Judicial branches are currently using for detention under the AUMF in both habeas litigation and military operations. Such confusion threatens our ability to act swiftly and decisively to capture, detain, and interrogate terrorism suspects, and could disrupt the collection of vital intelligence about threats to the American people.

Rather than fix the fundamental defects of section 1032 or remove it entirely, as the Administration and the chairs of several congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters have advocated, the revised text merely directs the President to develop procedures to ensure the myriad problems that would result from such a requirement do not come to fruition. Requiring the President to devise such procedures concedes the substantial risks created by mandating military custody, without providing an adequate solution. As a result, it is likely that implementing such procedures would inject significant confusion into counterterrorism operations.

<...>


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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. It is rightwing politics.
From ACLU:
Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor."


The right would love nothing more than to shoehorn this into a bill and then have Limbaugh etal scream bloody murder that Obama is turning this country into a dictatorship.

There is no low that is too low for those scum.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. The Udall amendent failed 37 to 61
Roll call

YEAs ---37

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Coons (D-DE)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harkin (D-IA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Paul (R-KY)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)

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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Veto the bill!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, but Congress should hear from everyone. n/t
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ancianita Donating Member (28 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. I'm not confident that Obama will veto it.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. It is very unlikely that Obama will veto the Defense appropriation bill
It would be good if he acted as the head of the executive branch to state what the administration's policy is. As CIC, there are things he could do that would avoid many of the bad parts added to the bill.
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ancianita Donating Member (28 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
5. Democratic NAYS on the Udall Amendment:
Daniel K. Akaka D HI
Bob Casey D PA
Kent Conrad D ND
Kay Hagan D NC
Daniel K. Inouye D HI
Tim Johnson D SD
Herb Kohl D WI
Mary L. Landrieu D LA
Carl Levin D MI
Joseph I. Lieberman D CT
Barbara A. Mikulski D MD
Ben Nelson D NE
Mark Pryor D AR
Jack Reed D RI
Debbie Stabenow D MI
Sheldon Whitehouse D RI

Menendez' request to change his vote to 'Yea' was approved.

Furthermore, those members of Congress and these Democrats who expressley voted against the Udall Amendment to McCain/Levins dangerous provisions, themselves break their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It doesn't matter if these blue dogs represent the majority of their constituents. Even if it could be proven that they represented a majority of all Americans, that majority can still be, constitutionally, wrong.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thanks for the update. n/t
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Some are not blue dogs - Reed and Whitehouse surprise me the most
They are both among the most liberal. Reed is on the Armed Services Committee and he is a West Point graduate, which makes it more surprising, not less.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
8. Cloture motion agreed to 88 to 12
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Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
11. Two pending Feinstein amendments will fix the DoD Authorization Act's text re the detainment issue

Feinstein amendment #1125 (limiting military custody of detainees to those captured abroad)
Feinstein amendment #1126 (prohibiting military authority to indefinitely detain US citizens)
http://democrats.senate.gov/2011/11/30/amendments-to-s -... /

---
As I said elsewhere:
I figured yesterday when the Udall amendment was voted down that there was an alternative amendment in the works - looks like that is the case :)

p.s. Perhaps there were so many 'no' votes yesterday because of the language of the amendment?
Sometimes when an amendment is voted down it is due to the 'language' and it's not because of the issue,
hopefully the Feinstein amendment language will be more pleasing to more of the Senators.




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